As Christians, we must never lose sight of the Jewish culture into which Jesus..

RAMBLING RECTOR

Church buildings can open for public worship now, but I will continue to send a short reflection, for those of you who must continue to ‘shield’. It will be based on the topic of the Sunday Sermon, but not a transcript of it.

Let me know if you want a full transcript and I’ll get one to you.

 

SUNDAY 2 August 2020

Romans 9.1-8

1 I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, for ever praised! Amen.

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.

 

This is the Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

Matthew 14.13-21

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to MATTHEW

Glory to you, O Lord.

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed those who were ill.

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so that they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’

16 Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’

17 ‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered.

18 ‘Bring them here to me,’ he said. 19 And he told the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

 

This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, O Christ.

 

SUNDAY 2 August 2020

When I was working as a curate in Rainham, the vicar of one of the neighbouring parishes was Reverend Peter Guinness, a wise and energetic man with a long experience of leading churches in the evangelical tradition of the Anglican church.  His wife was Michelle, and she had a flourishing career as a writer and speaker.  Michelle had been brought up in a very traditional Jewish family and converted to Christianity as a young woman.  Her Jewish heritage brought a richness to her own faith, and also to her husband’s ministry. One of her book’s, Chosen, describes how she learned to bring those two cultures together in a cohesive whole. She is able to breath new life into the traditions of the Jewish faith by reinterpreting them in a Christian context.

 

I wonder what she and the Apostle Paul would have made of each other!

 

I think they would have liked each other, because Paul too, in this passage from the Letter to the Romans never denies or ignores his Jewish roots, but manages to ‘marry’ them with his faith in Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.

 

As Christians, we must never lose sight of the Jewish culture into which Jesus was born. It informs so much of his ministry, not least, as we see in the passage from Matthew the importance placed on the providing and sharing of food as a mark of hospitality, a hospitality that reflects the loving warmth that God offers to each one of us.


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